R.I.P. Chet Gardner


Chet in the Santa Maria pit line

Chet still waiting in line

Chet on a 4 wheeler

Chet with the family mule

Chet with Jimmy May

Chet working on a Gaunt car


Chet working on a tire



Chet hurrying

Chet with # 96

Chet working

Chet in the toolbox

Chet working on a tire

Chet working the jack in the Wagsdash tire change contest



Chet working on # 96

Chet working

Chet with Jeff, Jimmy and Blake

Same group

Chet smiling, always smiling

Chet with Tyler Brown

Chet with Jeff and Tyler Brown

Chet and Ronnie working at the Wagsdash

Chet in the trailer with the family

Chet with Ronnie, Brad Noffsinger adn Blake Miller

Chet with grandpa Jack, Blake and Jimmy

Chet in Wags Mule

Chet with Blake and Logan Williams

Chet with Jimmy

Chet on # 96

Chet with Krista and Mallory and a small shiny tire award

Chet with Charlie Zabinski

Chet in the Perris grandstands

Chet with Jimmy and Ronnie

Chet and Jack Sr

Chet with Uncle Howard, Jack Sr and Ronnie

Chet with Jack

Chet helping Rickie Gaunt

Chet with # 94

Chet in the pits

Chet with # 16


Chet with Austin Williams

Chet grovin' a tire

Chet with Blake Miller with Nadine and Ronnie Gardner

Chet with Chris Holt

Chet with Ben Lancaster

Chet grovvin' another tire

Chet with Ronnie Gardner and Brandon Thomson

Chet toolin' arouund the pits

Chet and Jimmy

Chet working on a tire

Chet wandering the pits

Chet pushing # 96

Young chet having a ball in the pits

Life really isn’t all peaches and cream and we all cling to the sad news as it sweeps over us. Knowing Chet Gardner since he was a small boy sitting in the grandstands near us, it is a shock that he lost his life as the rest of us celebrated Xmas. This young man was more than just that, he was an integral part of the west coast racing scene. Coming from the infamous Gardner clan, Chet has been very involved on all of the Gardner wins of the past during his short life. His quiet and peaceful attitude has been there from day one of his 24 years with us as he worked on many Gardner Sleds and loved what he was doing.

Never did he complain, only worked hard to make it happen, time after time. He smiled thru race after race, time and time again as he visited with everyone and spread his little smile amongst us. He was low key, and in addition to that never drew attention to himself, but was proud of the Gardner lore and you could see the self-satisfaction he held inside.

I remember when he and Cousin Ronnie would be in the grandstands very quietly watching the action and exploding when the current Gardner car did well. He wasn’t one to wander around much and as he grew up, he was even more focused until the day he could enter the pits. From that point on, he was a crewman who was busy and content with his duties all the time. He was a proud winner of the Wagtimes Shiny Tire Award on many occasions. He told me he wasn’t interested in driving a sprint car, but wanted to make it work better. He rarely walked by without stopping to regale his latest race story or even talk about himself and his cousin’s mischief.

I no longer ask why in these times of loss, I merely am certain that he has moved on to the next phase of our worldly being. May the Gardner Clan rejoice in his life and remember the special things about him we all can recall, he was very special and may he rest in peace. The racing world will not forget him and nor will I.

Updated 2/25/18